Blog Posts on Scott Russell Sanders, “After the Flood”

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22 thoughts on “Blog Posts on Scott Russell Sanders, “After the Flood”

  1. In Sanders piece “Before the Flood” Sanders explains his childhood past. He grew up and lived on a farm along the river. Where he lived was flooded in order to create a reservoir. Sanders then goes back to revisit his native ground, when he arrives to the unfamiliar lake he feels exiled. Sanders explains how there was nothing to go back to, he could not reconnect to this land because it was changed. Sanders criticizes politicians by saying if there would have been mansions or factories instead of farms, then there most likely would have been a different outcome. Sanders opinion on politicians is that they are not realizing the value in farm land and nature, a value that cannot be quantified. He explains that their reasons from building the dam was for flood control, recreation, and development. Sanders states that he is “suspicious of logic that forestalls occasional floods by creating a permanent one.” By attempting to halt occasional floods they destroyed a huge area of valuable land and severed the bonds between the people and that place. Sanders explains that whether you love it or you hate it you cannot shake your native ground, it is apart of you. Your native ground leaves an imprint on your life that will affect the way you see other land for the rest of your life.

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    • 5 points. I think you’re getting to an even more important point that Sanders is working to make toward the end–that politicians don’t just not appreciate the value of farmland and nature, but they also don’t appreciate (or care about) the personal connections that we have with our homes.

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  2. ‘After the Flood’, is a significant chapter, that Scott Sanders uses to keep reiterating his childhood. He grew up on a primal land where he became very familiar with his surroundings in the state of Ohio. His experiences are what gave him his love and desire for nature. Then in the 1960’s the government intervened with the land and a damn was built. This is what caused the river to dry up. When leaving for college he states, ‘Why wish back to see a muddy expanse of annihilating water?’ In this he is stating there is no point in dwelling on the past, but you have to just keep pushing forward to the future. I agree with this, often times we are to quick to dwell on the past and reflect on the what ifs. In returning he goes on to say, ‘Surely I was prepared by now to see the great erasure. I was a man and had put behind me a boy’s affection for a stretch of river and a patch of dirt.’ He is shocked at how distorted the land he has grown up on has become. Memories of locations that held meaning for him had changed. He no longer felt that connection like he once did. The river especially had swept everything away. This then caused him to feel both exiled and committed. He knew at that moment that he needed to know and care for the place. ‘I am an adult because I have lost irretrievably the childhood landscapes that gave shape to my love of the earth.’ I agree with this, the home we remember as a child may not always stay the same when returning to it as an adult. It’s when we lose that common place that we become more acquainted with the idea of adulthood. Shapes our understanding of the world. The homesickness is just an ailment of childhood when we first leave home. I really like how he uses this phrase. because its completely true. How we remember our past forms how we feel about our present and future. If we have a very enduring childhood then we crave those moments especially when we leave to pursue our adult future. I feel as though what Sanders is trying to say in this chapter is that we have to learn to appreciate the features of our surroundings that we grow up with and even when they change, change with them to better your surroundings.

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    • 5 points. Interesting thoughts on Sanders. I must admit I’m reading him somewhat differently. Although it’s clearly true that we can’t recapture a lost past, I think Sanders’ main point is that we *shouldn’t* let go of that first, primal place–in part because we can’t. I think he’s trying to advocate *for* nostalgia, doing so by exploring its truer meaning than what the popular understanding of the word is. (And the river does not run dry–it’s the opposite; the dam is built to flood the river and create a reservoir.)

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  3. After the flood is Sander’s first essay on Staying Put. He introduces himself and the first place he called home. He continues telling his memories and saying how painful it was to let that place drown. Since we’ve read the entire book, we are aware that Sander has a great life at a place that became home to him. What I take out of the book is that because Sanders has a vivid memory of his childhood, about the time when he first condemns the act of losing a home, it’s made him heavily disposed to have a home again. And so from that he tries to tell people that he knows how painful it is to lose a home, and that one must not lose hope nor stop being perseverant, like he didn’t, and so one becomes more likely to have a home again.

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    • 5 points. Good reflections from the perspective of having read the other essays first. It’s interesting how the reading experience can change dependent on the order we read something in.

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  4. In Scott Russell Sanders piece “After the Flood” he talks about the importance of his childhood home as he does in many of his pieces. As a grown adult, Sanders decides to revisit his childhood home in Ohio that he grew up in. He was shocked to find that the place he once called home no longer had familiarity. It had been turned into a dam. The government had taken the farmland that Sanders had once lived on and decided to turn it into a dam in order to combat flood. This is upsetting to Sanders, as he no longer has the place where he made many childhood memories to return to. This loss makes him feel more disconnected, but also more like an adult. Also, he states that government must not know the value of farmland like he does, because had his land been factory or city then maybe they would not have turned it into a dam.

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    • 5 points. Sanders is even more shocked since he knew already that the dam and reservoir were being built–that was going to happen when he was a child/teenager. But even so, the shock of the reality of all, even so many years later, is surprising for him.

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  5. In Scott Russell Sanders “After the Flood”, He talks about his childhood and where he grew up. He talked about how he grew up along a river and how the river flooded the ttown. Sanders moved after the flood to a new town. Years later, he visited his old town and felt no sense of nostalgia. The town felt differents, as if the water changed things forever. He found that the government had turned the farm he grew up on into a dam. He felt as if the government did not know the value of the farm, both agriculturally and sentimentally. In his piece, he describes the pain of losing a home without even knowing it. He felt the pain that somebody feels when they suddenly lose something and they feel as if the world is spinning around them.

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    • 5 points. You’re right that those interior feelings that Sanders has–both in the past and in the present when he revisits his childhood home–are very powerful and important to the meaning of the essay. Be sure to get the factual details right–he didn’t really live in a town here but was on a farm, and the river didn’t really flood the town–the government built a dam to create a reservoir, which flooded a large are, which included his childhood farm home.

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  6. After the Flood was the first chapter of Scott Russell Sanders book,Staying Put. In this chapter he talks about how the river by his childhood home was flooded and how so many people lost their homes and land to the man made damn. Sanders talks about how he felt exiled from his land and he goes on to talk about how so many other people have been exiled from their homeland. He felt like a part of him was just washed away from the damn and all he had were the memories from when he grew up. I could personally relate to this because my grandma was actually “bought out” by the government in order to build a road which connects directly to the highway. She lived in her home for 50 some years and then had to just get up and find a new home at the age of 75. This was not only hard for my grandma it was also hard on all of us who grew up creating so many memories in the old house but now it is gone and all we have are our memories.

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    • 5 points. I’m sorry your grandma and your whole family had to go through that awful experience. These things happens more often than I think a lot of people realize. People’s lives–and their roots in home–are disrupted and dislodged often like this, and “exile” is certainly an appropriate word.

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  7. In “After the Flood”, is the very first chapter of Scott Russell Sanders’ book called “Staying Put”. In this chapter, much like some of the other chapters from the book, Sanders talks about his past as a child. He starts of by talking about his very first home that he had, and how he lived by a river that flooded, causing the rest of the town to flood, which forced Sanders and his family to move out of town to a new one. He then talks about when he was an adult, and how he decided to go back and visit the town he once called home. When he returned to his childhood hometown, he went to his old home where he came to see that the government had turned his farm into a dam. After seeing that the government had done this, Sanders becomes very upset that the place that he made his childhood memories is no longer there. He talks about how the land of his old home was very valuable, and how the government obviously could not tell that. I believe that the message that Sanders is trying to tell us is that we should make the most memories and appreciate the place that we call home, because someday you may not ever be able to go back and visit those memories.

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    • 5 points. I think Sanders’ message might be even a bit deeper than just make most of your memories. Our first home is primal for him, and it’s something that lives with us that’s even more than just memory–it’s an inescapable part of our identity. (Be careful of details–he lived on a farm, and a town wasn’t really flooded.)

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  8. “After the Flood” talks about personal childhood memory by Scott Russell Sanders. He describes his first home. His home was right by the river which eventually casued his family to move to a new place in a different twon because of the flood. As an adult, Sanders goes back to the place where he first called his home and was shocked and upset about the change that has caused to turn his past place into a dam. Thses days, the land has become more as an asset instead of being considered as nature. People build buildings to maximize their profit out of their newly built builidngs. However, it is sadder that people are just living without knowing that the land is changing and are accepting that the change of land is natural these days. However, in my opinion, like Sanders’ argument, it is very important to keep your childhood memories preserved as it was when you were young because your memories might be only left in your heart rather than actual present sight like Sanders had experienced when he went back. I also used to live in a place where it was very quiet and had fresh air but now it is turned into one of the most industrialized cities. Even a decade ago, people looked for a home in a location where it had a great view and fresh air. However, people’s demands have been changing for example, they are looking for a home in a place where it is most convinient to go work or shop. I really wish that people value their childhood memories more so that they can always live with thinking that they can always physically go back to a place where their childhood memories are kept well.

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    • 2 points (second posting of week). As I noted with other blog responses, I think Sanders is focusing on more than memory. Our first childhood home is part of our identity–what he’s talking about here may be closer to what Wiesel is talking about regarding exile, maybe?

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  9. Reading Sanders’ “After the Flood,” I was really able to relate to the content being from the Iowa City area. Although I wasn’t alive for the 1993 flood, the 2008 flood I was old enough to remember and it impacted what I thought of nature and my community. The amount of destruction caused by the running water was more than I had ever imagined. I remember not being able to go down Dubuque Street or visit my favorite places such as the beach and fossil gorge. Although Sanders talks about a man-made flood, the consequences of it were very similar. In Iowa City and the surrounding area there was a lot of devastation to the local wildlife and nature and the floods in Sanders’ hometown the building of the dam took over the surrounding low areas and created a new landscape. In Iowa City, I remember seeing people put up sandbags to protect the buildings around the river and the high water marks that are still visible along bridges and buildings. My parents were forced to take a different route to get to their jobs downtown and there are buildings that were damaged and changed the face of the town for awhile including the basement of the IMU and Hancher. I used to go to plays at Hancher when I was younger and haven’t been able to since. The fact that it has been closed and rebuilt for this long really changed the amount of time I spent downtown. In both Sanders’ hometown and mine, the rising waters changed the landscape of the area for years to come.

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    • 5 points. The 2008 flood in Iowa City was in part man-made, according to a lot of people. We had the flood we did because of the Coralville dam. Although the dam was built for flood control–and perhaps it has controlled some flooding–it can also exacerbate flooding depending on how the water flow is handled. A lot of people thought the water flow was not handled correctly in 2008, and the flood could have been less destructive had it not been for the dam. (And, ironically, the fossil gorge you mention was created because of the 1993 flood!)

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  10. Scott Russel Sanders in the essay “After the flood” shares his story on returning to an old childhood area that had been destroyed to make a dam. Sanders reflects on old memories he had in the area and how he feels seeing what it has become now. His story reminds me a lot of my families return to Ethiopia this summer. When my dad returned to his old village where he grew up, the area had been completely destroyed and turned into condos by the government who justified it as economic development. A lot of our relatives also had to sell their homes and land because they didn’t meet the requirements the government had set. The government has regulations such as every building has to be at least three stories high and other regulations that forced land and home owners to sell their house for “economic development”. Keep in mind that most of these houses and buildings are by no means shabby. For example one of my aunt’s buildings was an apartment building that was two stories high but was only five years old. My aunt had to sell the building to the government or lose the building for no money at all.

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  11. In Scott Russell Sander’s “After the Flood,” he introduces what home means to him and where the very first place he called home was. This was the first chapter in the book we read for class, but it was the very last chapter we read and discussed. He talks about all the surroundings of his home and how he developed a love for nature. He describes how the government took part of the land in order for a dam to be built, which caused the river he grew up near to dry up. He has since revisited the site and sees that a new lake has formed, from the dam. He talks about how he feels exiled from his home and how unfamiliar everything looks. He then continues on to say that whether you have a love or hate relationship with your native grounds, it is and will forever be apart of you. It is something that will change the way you look at other land for the rest of your life.

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    • 5 points. “Exile” is in many ways an appropriate word here. Reading this in conjunction with Wiesel is an interesting and enlightening experience, I think. Be careful of accuracy of details–you say the river dried up, but the opposite happened–the dam was built to flood the area to create the reservoir, not to dry up the river.

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